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The Daytona Beach News-Journal
By Lyda Longa, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Friday, November 14, 2014 at 5:53 p.m.
The 9-year-old girl shot in the head multiple times by her father almost a month ago has woken up from her coma and has been trying to talk to her mother, the woman’s attorney said.
Fourth-grader Lauren Mohney is in stable condition at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, lawyer Zachary Stoumbos said.
The girl has been at Arnold Palmer since Oct. 17 when Volusia County sheriff’s officials said her father, David Mohney, shot Lauren, her sister Savanna, 14, and her brother David, 11, before turning a 9mm handgun on himself. The two older children died, as did 52-year-old David Mohney. The children’s mother, 48-year-old Cynthia Mohney, was unhurt.
Each of the three children was shot in the head more than once, a sheriff’s spokesman said; however, Stoumbos has said Lauren likely survived because her older sister “draped” herself over the younger girl when their father walked into their bedroom and opened fire.
Lauren, shot in the left side of the brain, was placed in a medically induced coma, but has since woken up, Stoumbos said, and has been trying to speak.
“There have been some ups and down,” Stoumbos said in a telephone interview. “Another issue is that they’re trying to keep her caloric intake up. She has feeding tubes.”
Stoumbos said his client Cynthia Mohney has been “living” at the hospital. A GoFundMe page was started on Oct. 20 to help her pay for her daughter’s hospital stay and by Friday afternoon had raised $12,690.
The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the shooting, spokesman Gary Davidson said. Stoumbos said the query has nothing to do with Cynthia Mohney, but rather with what prompted David Mohney to embark on such a rampage. Stoumbos said his office is also conducting its own probe and is waiting on autopsy reports and the results of a toxicology test done on David Mohney.
The attorney said “injectable steroids” were found at the Mohney residence after the shootings.
“And they didn’t belong to my client,” Stoumbos said.
Whether David Mohney had taken the drug before the killings is not clear, Stoumbos said, but that will be revealed once the toxicology test results are returned. In a statement released by divorce lawyer Doug Kneller after the shootings, David Mohney had been seeing a “mental health professional.” Stoumbos added that David Mohney was also taking antidepressants.
“We are doing our own investigation for the family,” Stoumbos said. “They want to know why this happened, what led up to this.”
It was no secret in the Mohneys’ neighborhood inside the Spruce Creek Farms subdivision that the couple was having marital issues. Court records show David Mohney filed for a temporary injunction for protection against his spouse earlier this year, alleging that she would strike him and their children when she drank alcohol.
Stoumbos denied that Cynthia Mohney was ever violent with her children or that she drank excessively.
David Mohney also filed for divorce, stating that he wanted to take his children to South Dakota and that his wife — a physician’s assistant and the family breadwinner — wanted to stay in Florida. David Mohney, retired from the U.S. Army, had been studying to become a chiropractor since the family moved here from Iowa in 2010, court documents show. He graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange last year, but had not obtained his license. Based on the injunction and the petition for divorce, David Mohney wanted to get a master’s degree in chiropractic while his wife continued to work.
Several weeks before the incident, David Mohney agreed to withdraw the injunction after he and his wife reached a verbal accord at the hearing for the injunction, documents show. The couple lived in their house on Jackson Lane, but they slept in separate bedrooms, sheriff’s officials said.
Minutes before the tragedy unfolded that morning before sunup, David Mohney had gone upstairs to wake up his wife.
The husband showed the wife his handgun and told her he wanted her to stop the divorce.
He then told her, “If you don’t come back to me and stop the divorce, I will kill our children,” Stoumbos said, recounting the conversation between David and Cynthia Mohney.
David Mohney then hit his wife in the mouth, Stoumbos said. That’s when a terrified Cynthia Mohney ran to her neighbor’s house across the street. The neighbor called 9-1-1 and, as he was speaking to a dispatcher, Cynthia Mohney saw a flash in the window of the downstairs bedroom, Stoumbos said.
Cynthia Mohney headed back to her home and heard two gunshots coming from the second floor, Stoumbos said. She then heard another gunshot. When Cynthia Mohney got inside, she saw her husband on the kitchen floor, a pool of blood under his body. She ran upstairs to her eldest child’s room and it was empty. She then headed to Lauren’s bedroom and found Savanna “draped” over the fourth-grader. That was the bedroom where deputies found Cynthia Mohney just before 5:30 a.m. when they arrived at the house, Stoumbos said.
The Mohney house remains empty, Stoumbos said. His client’s plans for the future are uncertain because right now she is concerned with only one matter.
“She’s not leaving the hospital until her daughter can walk out with her,” the attorney said.